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LINKing upperclassmen, freshmen since day one

LINK Crew spends months preparing to guide incoming students

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Coming to a new school as a freshman can make students stressful and nervous, especially for their first day, but LINK leaders answer questions, share donuts and guide freshmen to their classes to make school a comfortable environment for all students.

LINK Crew is a program for juniors and seniors to mentor and welcome freshmen. LINK Crew runs Freshman Orientation, visits freshman homerooms and plans events. On January 4, Cocoa, Cookies and Finals was an event for freshmen to get to know their classmates and prepare for final exams.

“It is not only for them to look at their study guides. It is also to be social and calm down the freshmen before their first finals,” said Mrs. JoAnne Francis, director of student activities and LINK crew moderator. “This year we had about 70% of the freshmen class attend.”

The moderators and LINK leaders put in work behind the scenes to make sure Cocoa, Cookies and Finals was successful in attendance and purpose.

“The moderators are in touch with freshman teachers and invite them to come to the event and hand out study guides,” said Mrs. Francis. “LINK leaders go in and talk about study guides before Christmas. We also talk to coaches to make sure the freshmen can come.”

“I think it was a good resource for freshmen to use,” said Mary Kate Cambria, freshman. “Our LINK leaders reinforced the idea and told us to go. They also had good study tips for us to use.”

“You could ask any of the teachers of a similar subject questions if your teacher was busy, and the cookies were good,” said Michael Nuelle, freshman.

“We help the freshmen get adjusted, comfortable and staying on track in terms of balancing academics, sports and service,” said Cara Denten, junior and LINK leader.

Teachers at the event also found that the event benefited students not only to prepare for finals but also to unwind before their first final exams.

“I think the freshmen could make it beneficial. It’s completely up to them,” said Mrs. Maureen Martin, social studies teacher. “The freshmen seemed to enjoy themselves and de-stress. It was a successful event.”

“It was the first year I had kids asking me to come over and asking me questions,” said Mrs. Vicky Giusti, biology teacher.

In addition to Cocoa, Cookies and Finals, LINK leaders host Freshman Orientation at the beginning of the year, and LINK leaders get to know the freshmen in their assigned homerooms.

“In the first week, LINK leaders go into the homerooms every single day for the first few weeks of school. Once the school year starts, they go into the homerooms at least once a week and celebrate birthdays and achievements,” said Mrs. Francis. “The freshmen get very comfortable with the upperclassmen, who they can ask questions to and get guidance from. We are like a family, so we try to create that.”

“They are very welcoming and help us be comfortable with upperclassmen,” said Jackie Moynihan, freshman.

A diverse group of juniors and seniors are selected to be LINK leaders to make freshmen feel welcome.

“We try to get a mixture of kids from different academic programs and different social groups,” said Mrs. Francis. “We do our best to get a mix for freshmen to see that seniors are involved in all kinds of activities. It is one of my favorite programs in the school.”

LINK Crew benefits the leaders as well as the freshmen students.

“I like LINK crew because it’s a good experience to help the freshmen get adjusted with the Viator community, and I get to be a role model for younger students,” said Denten.

“LINK Crew is a good leadership experience,” said Mrs. Francis.

LINK Crew is for current sophomores and juniors, and the application for the 2018-2019 school year will be available at the end of February. LINK leaders should be a positive role model, dedicated to the program, responsible and have a big heart.

“The LINK program mentors the younger kids and creates a much more positive environment here at school,” said Mrs. Francis. “Kids seem to be more caring and nice to freshmen. When we first started the program, there was some poor little freshman who dropped his books, and upperclassmen stopped and helped him pick up his books. They weren’t even LINK leaders! They would not have done that two years before. [LINK Crew] is about treating and respecting each other. It creates a comfortable, safe place at school.”

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LINKing upperclassmen, freshmen since day one